It was always my dream to live on a sailboat, and that dream came true almost 3 years ago. My husband and I gave up our dive shop in Key Largo, bought a sailboat, gave away pretty much everything we owned, and moved onto the boat full time with our two black cats we had rescued many years earlier. The plan was to sail the Caribbean for a couple of years, so the preparations began.
Apart from the obvious prep like food planning, we were also very conscious of all the other products we would bring on board. The way a boat works with discharge is this: there is a holding tank for your head (toilet) that catches human waste. It either gets pumped out professionally, or macerated and dumped in the middle of the ocean (it is organic material after all). Then there is the so-called “greywater”. Think all dish washing water, all shower water and all hand washing water. Basically ALL the water that goes through a sink or a shower on your boat. And now you see where I’m coming from: EVERYTHING we put on our bodies, on our dishes or on our boat ends up directly in the ocean. Unfiltered, and you can’t stop it – no matter if you are on top of a reef, in a lagoon, or in a marina.
Besides the use of our favorite Stream2Sea sunscreen and our sun-proof clothing, I had to make sure I had certified reef safe and biodegradable shampoo, bodywash, soap, conditioner, dish detergent, toothpaste, cleaning products, laundry detergent, hand sanitizer and deck cleaner. The obvious choice was using Stream2Sea products, but for the other ones I had to get creative. For laundry detergent, I simply use Stream2Sea shampoo. I use a watered down version of Stream2Sea shampoo and mix it with some distilled vinegar and voila! natural dish detergent. I clean my stainless sinks with diluted baking soda and vinegar. For toothpaste, we use tablets, no plastic waste and all natural (I suspect I’ll be making my own toothpaste soon, it doesn’t seem to be difficult). I have been able to find a few other soaps and cleaning products that are truly safe, and I know this because I religiously compare the “Ingredients to Avoid” card with the back label of each product before it goes into my cart.
There are a few other changes I have made to make life on board easier and more eco-friendly. I have devised a completely trash free cat litter system. There are no single use items on the boat. We avoid packaging as best we can, and when we can’t avoid it, we reuse it until it falls apart. After all, the general rule of sailboating is “If it doesn’t have at least 2 purposes or uses, it can’t come on board”.
All Stream2Sea products have more than two purposes and they work great. They protect our bodies, our waters and our environment. The packaging is biodegradable or made of recycled materials. And most importantly they make us feel responsible and safe when using them!
Most people aren’t lucky enough to live on sailboat, but what we learned prepping for this trip is an important lesson even if you don’t live anywhere near an ocean. What goes in your drain flows to the ocean. Yes, those pollutants are more diluted, but “forever” chemicals and plastics will last forever. Just imagine your home is a sailboat, and measure your impact on our planet!